A Note About Thank You Notes

If you live in Canada, like myself, this past weekend was Thanksgiving weekend. There are so many fun traditions and things to celebrate and indulge in. I spent mine with my family and ate more turkey and pumpkin pie than I thought possible. It was so great.

I have a lot of half-finished blog post ideas floating around my head and my note books and I didn’t know what to share about this week – but since there is a general theme of thankfulness and gratitude going on right now I thought I would do a little update on the Gratitude Project and think about why it’s important to sustain the spirit of thanksgiving far past the family dinners and trips to the pumpkin patch.

Project Update

Writing “Project Update” sounds much more formal that what this is, but I do want to share a few reflections of what it is like to write a thank you note a day (or try to and then realize you’ve forgotten for three days – nobody’s perfect guys and I’ve definitely missed a note here and there). The first thing is that, sending thank you notes fills your heart with love. It makes you remember little things and big things and old memories and reasons why you love people. It helps you connect with others and fosters relationships and reminds people that you love them. It is hard to be grumpy about your day when you sit down to thank someone for something.

Writing thank you notes out of the blue can feel a bit strange – I have started so many of my notes with “this is so random but…” . Saying thank you , especially for things that are general like a person’s friendship or support over years rather than a specific act, isn’t something I found myself doing very often before this project. However, building this practice into my life has been a great way to see the world and practice gratitude in different ways. Even though it might seem weird to write a thank you note for someone just “being” in your life , and you might feel like you’re living in Jimmy Fallon’s Thank You Note segment, I think you should embrace it and write them anyway.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about fighting for friendship and I think this is a great way to do it. The week of that post I wrote thank you notes to some of the friends that inspired it and thanked them for inspiring me, for being wonderful and named their qualities that I admired. It wasn’t your usual “thank you for doing this thing for me” note , it was more of an I appreciate you and am so thankful for your existence. But you know what, it felt so good to name those things. To tell those people how much they meant to me. I love celebrating people not just for the individual things they do for me but for the person they are and the way they light up my life on a daily basis.

Thanksgiving Everyday

So I want you to think about thank you notes from a new perspective today, and try writing one that is out of the ordinary. Maybe it starts with “this is so random but…” or maybe it’s thanking someone for being a generally wonderful person and the way they inspire you, or maybe you don’t write it to a person. My last type of thank you note I’ve experimented with is writing lists (because if you know me well you know I love lists) about all the things in a day I am thankful for. It can be a little prayer of thanksgiving or list a list in your journal or planner of all the things that you’re thankful for in a day – whatever floats your boat.

When we practice giving thanks everyday we see how many blessings we have in our lives. Things we take for grated: our friends and family; dance parties in the car; the beach; having a safe place to call home; bubble baths; sunshine; the smell of cilantro; community; ice coffee; health care and counsellors; scones; coffee shops; coral lipstick; a closet of clothes; feeling creative and inspired; people who are patient; Chihuahuas; sharing the things I love with people who I love; driving at night with the windows down and warm summer breezes blowing around you; people who encourage you.

There are so many things to be thankful for, I could list more (my friends often joke that I’m like Julie Andrews listing all of her favourite things in The Sound Of Music) but I’ll just say this – thanksgiving is a wonderful time of year but the spirit of gratitude it represents can be a part of how you live everyday if you’re intentional.

julie-andrews

“I believe my life will see, the love I give, returned to me”

The quote in the header is a John Mayer lyric, the title of this blog is a reference to a John Mayer lyric and lately I’ve been quoting him in everyday conversations. I don’t know what’s up but lets just go with it…

The final reflection, and this seems self-serving but it’s honest, is that often when you tell people how much they matter to you they reciprocate. And not that you should give compliments or say you care about someone so that they will return the compliment, it’s also nice to hear. Sometimes you’ll get stuck in a flurry that becomes a compliment battle because you and your friend love each other so much no one can have the last word on how great you are. You should obviously not give compliments to receive them, but I’ve discovered from telling friends and loved ones they matter to me very deeply, is that I’ve found a deep sense of love sent back to me.

 

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Grayscale

There are things we face in life that can be hard to reconcile. It would be easier to divide things in black and white, to ignore information that doesn’t line up with our understanding of the world. This week I’m talking about the importance of investing time and thought into our beliefs about the world around us and being intentional about trying to understand people and ideas that are different from us.

Binary Opposition

I first learned about the concept of binary opposition in a communication and conflict management class I took last fall. Communication scholar John Hartley describes this theory as a way which meaning is generated by defining thing as direct opposites. These binaries function to create order or meaning. Essentially, it is “the system by which, in language and thought, two theoretical opposites are strictly defined and set off against one another”.

Binary opposition is a “comfortable” way of organizing ideas and seeing the world, but it can often lead to simplistic understandings, such as:

“That person is good, that person is bad”

“That neighbourhood is sketchy, that neighbourhood is safe”

“That university is innovative, that one is fun”

“I’m right, you’re wrong”

Binaries inform our ideologies of how we understand spaces, people, and ideas. They are problematic because create exclusive positive and negative categories with which to understand our world and miss a lot of important exceptions. What this does is that is that it frames our world in a way that we see people or ideas as good or bad and there is no in-between.

The problem with that type of thinking, and the reason it creates so much conflict, is that its rare to find a perfectly good person or a truly bad one. And so, despite the fact that sometimes it’s easier to divide people into those categories – and often I believe we don’t even see that we are doing it – but it does both us and them an injustice of ignorance.

In the middle of these binaries is an area my professor referred to as the “space of ambiguity” where there are outliers that don’t fit into binaries – so what do we do with the space in the middle and how does it effect how we see the world? Not reconciling these differences, and allowing ourselves to see the world in the form of binaries, leads to polarization.

The Uncomfortable Task of Sitting with Difficult Things

We need to do the difficult work of sitting in the middle and understand that there is  often no binary of right and wrong. I think it’s important to use the terms “work” when talking about feelings and ideas because emotional and intellectual labour is important and, emotional labour especially, is undervalued.

It can be hard to lean into challenging ideas or deep questions that feel impossible to resolve. Conflict within yourself, of reconciling difficult ideas and feeling all the confusing feels, or addressing conflict with others is an opportunity to think deeply. Wrestleing with these things looks different for everyone, it might be questioning how your religion and politics add up, it might be understanding how someone you trusted could have let you down, it might be coming to a place where you can respect neighbour or coworker who make different choices than you.

Wether or not you’re facing grey area within yourself, with people in your life, or on a larger scale – I know setting out this time isn’t easy. It can be so challenging to sit down and process these things. It may even down right painful to accept that sometimes there are truths that don’t line up and that aren’t easily categorized. But when you push yourself to think this way you’ll discover new pathways to peace within yourself and with people you’re in relationships with.

Wading into the Murky Grey

Wading into the grey area of your life to recognize that people are people. Just because you disagree with someone does not mean their opinion is invalid; just because people have the capacity to make mistakes or break trust doesn’t mean they can’t still be good.

And then we have to do the difficult and sometimes uncomfortable job of sitting with these things and understanding the world more deeply. Trying to make the best of your situation, embracing discomfort and being willing to sit with these ideas and wrestle against labels or binaries will help you grow.

I think that people are sometimes afraid of what they don’t understand, but maybe instead of dismissing the things we don’t understand, the interests, passions or values people have, we could try to understand where they are coming from. And imagine if they did the same, and instead of arguing or not talking about issues we could create space in the grey area to develop meaningful understandings of one another.

The thing today is this, the world isn’t black and white, and as tempting as it is to see the world that way – its lazy. There is a Rupi Kaur poem I love that says

to hate

is an easy lazy thing

but to love

takes strength

everyone has

but not all are

willing to practice

I’m not sure what grey area you have in your life, but this week I hope you consider taking up the job of sitting with difficult questions, feelings, or even conversations. Accepting that the world isn’t black and white does make it harder to categorize and sort it – but working through the grey area will help you make meaning of the world in a more purposeful and loving way.

For Allison

At the beginning of the year, on a blustery cold day, I went to Balzac’s for one of many coffee dates I had this winter with my friend Allison.

We talked school, stress, heartache, and the future. Two women on the cusp of graduation feeling that “wow everyone has a job, is getting married, or going to grad school and I have no clue what my plan is” feeling.

It was a conversation that stuck with me because as I told her of the hopes and dreams I had for life after school, of programs to apply for, I said “I would really love to go do that, but I’m trying not to get my hopes up”. And I’ll always remember that she said, “But why not? Why not get your hopes up?”. This week’s post is inspired by her enthusiasm for life and her encouragement to get my hopes up.

Unlikely Dreams

Sometimes we dream unlikely dreams. And it’s easy to say “I would like that to happen but I’m going to assume it won’t because I don’t want to feel letdown when things don’t work out”. That is the safe thing to do, it keeps you from being vulnerable.

Brené Brown’s TED Talk (guys she just has realllllly amazing TED Talks – okay?) The price of invulnerability talks about why people avoid getting our hopes up and relates perfectly with today’s topic.

She speaks to the fact that “It is much easier to live disappointed than it is to feel disappointment… We sidestep getting excited about something, because we’re not sure it’s actually going to happen”. When we avoid getting our hopes up, and avoid being vulnerable to our hopes and dreams we aren’t really protecting ourselves from the disappointment.

Similar to this avoidance of vulnerability Brown also talks about “numbing” emotions, to avoid getting hurt. However, she argues it is problematic because “.. you cannot selectively numb emotion. When we numb the dark emotion, when we numb vulnerability and fear, and the shame of not being good enough, we by default numb joy. We cannot selectively just numb the dark emotions.” So essentially, if we don’t let ourselves get excited about things we do avoid the feeling of being let down, but we also avoid the excitement about cool opportunities life presents us.

Sprinting into Hope

It might be vulnerable to invest your hope into something or someone, but the truth is certainty about things evades our lives and we might never know exactly what we can get our hopes up about. Sometimes we get true signs of confirmation, like an acceptance letter that tells us we got into the program we wanted, but other times it is not so clear. Sometimes you just have to trust your gut and let yourself get excited about things.

Don’t be afraid to get your hopes up. What is the worst that will happen? You might get hurt but you will move on and find something new to be excited about. Life is good, life is exciting and full of amazing things.

To me, it’s scarier not to get my hopes up. If you don’t invest in relationships? Sure you completely avoid the possibility of getting hurt but you also avoid the possibility of community, love, and worthwhile friendships. Not pursing dreams because you’re afraid they won’t workout the way you want? It avoids the disappointment but also the possible joy and success of putting yourself out there.

If you’re reading this and you’re thinking this is completely unrealistic because there are things we really can’t predict and sometimes it doesn’t make sense to get your hopes up – you’re right. Maybe it doesn’t always make sense, but I would rather it be a habit to be optimistic and occasionally try to not get my hopes up about something than form a habit of saying “I would really love to go do that, but I’m trying not to get my hopes up”.

Love is an Action

Another thing I love about Al is that she not only encouraged me to get my hopes up about the things I wanted to be excited about (but was afraid to be), but she got her hopes up for me too. When we talk about the future she talks about those dreams as if they will really come true. And if I point out to her that the future is uncertain she tells me we’re planning on those things to happen because she believes in me.

It can be hard to be vulnerable for yourself, let alone be willing to open your heart for the benefit of others, so I am very grateful for her. There is a Jamie Tworkowski quite I really like, that goes:  “You’ll need coffee shops and sunsets and road trips. Airplanes and passports and new songs and old songs, but people more than anything else. You will need other people and you will need to be that other person to someone else, a living, breathing, screaming invitation to believe better things.” Al, I’m lucky to call you a friend and beyond thankful to have you in my life blessing me with your encouragement, love, and challenging me to believe in better things and to be the best version of myself I can be.

“Love ain’t a thing, Love is a verb”

Excellence > Perfection

Happy Wednesday friends! This week’s post is going to be short and sweet. I’m talking about perfection and  touching on a few different categories of wellness!

Why write perfectionism in a wellness blog?

I think that being mindful of perfectionism is in line with the “striving for congruent wellness” theme of this blog. Avoiding holding yourself to a standard to perfectionism can be difficult, especially for people who tend to be self-proclaimed perfectionists (me!) but it is an unattainable goal that we shouldn’t hold ourselves to. Perfectionism is unhealthy and eclipses successes you’re making in all areas of wellness.

Serving up Lattes & Words of Wisdom

I started working at a coffee shop this summer and one of my favourite parts are the interactions I have with customers. There are the lovely families with little kids, the regular who never fails to get a soy green tea latte, and the memorable moments. I’m what you might call “hyperbolically enthusiastic” and this is especially true when I’m talking to customers; “Great!” , “Awesome!” , “Perfect!”, are all responses you could hear from me in response to you successfully tapping your credit card on the card reader.

Last week I used the word perfect to describe something along those lines and the customer asked me if I knew what perfect meant. He went on to tell me that there was an important distinction between perfection and excellence, saying that excellence is a level you strive for without being perfect. I smiled and wrote down what he said after he left because it struck a cord with me – and that is that its okay not to aim for perfection. I think I often focus on letting myself off the hook for not being perfect, but what if perfect simply ceased to be the goal?

Well, Well, Wellness

In relational, spiritual, physical, emotional and mental wellness, we’re never going to achieve perfection. And we don’t have to either. When we give ourselves and the people we love the room to be imperfect, relationships flourish. When we stop striving for perfection in our lives we emotionally “give ourselves a break”, and when we realize the only way to have a “perfect” body is to stop eating fun food – it’s clear, for me, to see that chocolate cake is better than abs.

I have a small collection of quotes that jumped out at me when thinking about perfection and what it means and why it’s beautiful to explore alternatives to perfection. Rather than write long paragraphs about why I think it’s wonderful to embrace that we weren’t meant to live perfect lives, I’m going to let these words that inspire me speak for themselves:

  • “You’re imperfect, and you’re wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.” – Brené Brown
  • “The problem [with being a perfectionist] is this : those of us who are never satisfied with our accomplishments secretly believe nobody will love us unless we’re perfect. We don’t think of our flaws as the glue that binds to the people we love, but they are.” – Donald Miller
  • “I will hold myself to a standard of grace not perfection.” – Emily Ley
  • “We need to stop trying to attain perfection because we are good enough already” – Iskra Lawrence

If you need more convincing, take it from my girl Anne Hathaway :

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Here is to an imperfect, but excellent Wednesday!

SaveSave

Lets talk about em-pa-thy

Lets talk about you and me

Lets talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be

Lets talk about em-pa-thy

*jazz hands*


Empathy is one of those terms, like vulnerability, that has been popping up in my life lately. It is relevant because I think when we feel people aren’t empathetic to us it removes the willingness to be authentic and vulnerable, and essentially it has a negative impact on relationships.

Defining Empathy

One of these days I’ll write a post that doesn’t quote Brené Brown, but today is not that day, folks. In this video (its short, sweet, and if you have five minutes you should go watch it) she describes empathy as “the skill set to bring compassion alive”, and “communicating deep love for people so they know they aren’t alone”.

Brené Brown has another video called Empathy vs. Sympathy that I saw in countless classes throughout my degree, it’s brilliant and worth sharing. She talks about the important differences between being empathic and sympathetic, how empathy fuels connection and cites Theresa Wiseman’s 4 Attributes of Empathy, which are:

  1. Perspective taking
  2. Staying out of judgement
  3. Recognizing emotion in others
  4. Communicating the emotion you see

My favourite line from this video is, “Rarely if ever does an empathic response start with “at least…”.” I always think about that when I’m about to say “well at least” to someone and notice how those comments can impact people and relationships, and what better alternatives can be said that foster empathy.

Feeling WITH Others

In both of the videos I linked to above, Dr. Brown talks about “feeling with someone” and I love this language and imagery. Often, we don’t need easy solutions to challenges, we just need people to stick by our side, and let us know they understand how we’re feeling. Sometimes I think of empathy as “voluntary vulnerability”, when people say “I get it, I’ve been there too” and it requires opening themselves up to let you know that you’re not alone.

While I was writing this post I kept thinking about how the challenging experiences we go through actually enable us to be more empathetic to people. If you’ve got your heart-broken, or lost someone you love, gone through a serious illness, moved away from a place you loved, or whatever difficult things you’ve faced it actually enables you to understand and empathize with people when they go through their own hard things.

Even though life has its share of hard, sad, challenging experiences – the silver lining is that we can learn to be more empathetic and loving to people.

You can repurpose every moment of feeling hurt, let down, left out, unheard, forgotten, and use it to love people harder. You can use it to understand their struggle and to empathize with them.

But wait…

Empathy is wonderful, it grows relationships, makes people feel connected – why wouldn’t it be your go to response? The thing is empathy can be hard. One of the biggest challenges we face when practicing and discussing empathy is that if you don’t know the feeling, it is hard to empathize. You might have a friend going through something and you’ve totally been where they are, but if you’ve never experienced it what do you say? I know I’ve had experiences where I just didn’t know what to say or how to relate to what a friend was going through, but recognizing and honouring their struggle is a good place to start.

Another challenge to empathy I’ve experienced is people thinking the thing you’re going through isn’t that bad or they want you to empathize with them. A while back I was at the grocery store after working an 8 hour shift and I was staring at the sushi bar a little longer than necessary. A lady asked me if I was okay and I laughed and said “yeah I just got off work and I’m tired” and she launched into why she was more tired than me and I didn’t have a reason to be complaining.  It struck me that she wanted to make it clear that she was more entitled to feeling tired. I also thought about how exhausted she must have been for that to be her immediate reaction.

Empathy isn’t always easy, and it requires energy we might not always feel like we have but moments of empathy from strangers, or when friends surprise you with how much love and empathy they can give you, can be so meaningful and I love being on the end where I can empathize with others.

What Next?

A story of empathy that I’m inspired by is from the book Love Does by Bob Goff. He talks about being in a car accident and having someone drive through a stop sign and hit his car. But his first instinct was to go check on the other driver. It was an elderly woman and he talks about how she was worried she wouldn’t be allowed to drive anymore and he empathized with her. Now, I’ve actually been in a similar situation and empathy was not my first thought, which is why this story really strikes me. He was not angry his car was totalled, he was empathetic to a woman who might lose her license.

I think if we interact with people from a place of love, like Bob, we are able to empathize with people and connect with them in ways that are truly meaningful.

So this week’s take away?

  • Empathy does not need to be earned. If you feel like you are working to earn empathy from someone who is a big problem. If you share something with someone and they need you to share more or justify why you deserve empathy, well that’s just frustrating and they probably aren’t the best person to talk to.
  • Practice self-care to give you strength and energy to empathize and care about other people. If you don’t change your batteries you burn out and lose the ability to love people well and empathize.
  • Be as empathetic as possible to everyone you encounter

 

 

Oceans & Waves

I essentially live at the beach in the summer. The other day I was soaking up some end of summer sun and listening to some of my favourite worship music. These days whenever I’ve been feeling any anxiety or stress I try to notice it right away, and challenge it with faith that God is in control of my life – so there is no need to worry.

As I was on the beach I was listening to Oceans by Hillsong United, and the waves of Lake Huron were brushing up against the shore, I began thinking about the contrast between John Mayer’s Emoji of a Wave. Yes, this really is going to be a comparative blog post of Hillsong United and John Mayer. Strap on your seatbelt, friend.


John Mayer’s song is about heartbreak and the waves of sadness that come in times of grief and heartbreak. He is singing about his romantic heartbreak but I loved the chapter in Brené Brown’s book Rising Strong where she talked about grief and heartbreak in a wide range of contexts. Anyway, we’ve all experienced grief or heartbreak in some form at one point in our lives. In the song he talks about trying to “just hold on” – which is such a universal feeling when we feel like we’re a hot mess at the end of our rope and we are barely hanging in there.

To contrast that, the song Oceans talks about navigating tough waters by trusting one’s faith. It has the lyrics “I’ll call upon your name, and keep my eyes above the waves”, “In oceans deep my faith will stand” and “when oceans rise I will rest in your embrace”. Spirituality gives a different perspective, it means in those moments when you truly feel like you’re barely hanging on, if things are falling out of place in your life, or you’re struggling to stay afloat – you’ve got something bigger than yourself to lean on.

What I’ve found in my own journey is that when life gets shaken up faith is like a constant rock that keeps you grounded and shapes a healthy perspective on life. You don’t have to feel like you completely understand religion or that you have answers to all your hard questions, having faith quite simply gives you peace. It doesn’t mean life doesn’t get hard and you don’t face challenges. For myself, faith means trusting the timing of your life in a much bigger sense than the timing you think you’re in control of.


Of all the people to reference when it comes to spirituality, I get that Beyoncé is not the person you were expecting but this post has a musician theme already so please stick with me. In her film Life Is But A Dream Beyoncé talks about her faith and says “God is real, and God lives inside of me and inside all of us. And it doesn’t matter where I am I know that and I feel it”.

The line it doesn’t matter where I am I know that and I feel it is what I want to tie back to the beginning of the post. Life is full of good and bad and there is no getting around that – but we can have faith that the bad will be overcome and turn into something good. And when we are in the position of navigating wavy tides we have two options – to hold on for dear life or find a sense of calm looking beyond the circumstances to remember that there is something bigger.

Life surprises us in ways that people can’t plan. Beyoncé also talks about the idea that everything in her life, the relationships and opportunities happen for a reason. There are so many opportunities that we honestly just can’t anticipate, so much joy and so many wonderful people we didn’t even know we could want in our life that often get introduced at the most interesting times. It reminds me of Ecclesiastes 3:1 “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heavens”. It can feel at times like things in your life are out of control, but the thing is just because you’re not in control doesn’t mean the situation is. It means you have to have faith.


Faith, spirituality and religion mean a lot of different things for different people – I’m writing about it this week because in the context of holistic wellness it is pretty important. I’m not an expert, and I appreciate everyone practices their faith in different ways, but I think it’s meaningful to explore and figure out what feels right for you.

This week I haven’t jumped too deep into the details of my own personal story of faith, and this certainly isn’t a “how to guide” on spirituality, but one thing that I will say from my experience is that prayer can have a positive impact while you explore your faith. Pray for little things and big things, on good days and bad days, if you’re struggling to stay afloat and you don’t know what to do, pray. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says “pray continually” and I’ve found that the more I pray and the stronger my faith is. If you find yourself happily settled on beach, or if you’re feeling lost at sea in an overwhelming season of life, knowing you can lean on something much larger than yourself can be a huge comfort.

I don’t have anything left to lose with the pop culture references today so I’m going to close with a Drake lyric, “We seein’ so many blessings, **it don’t make no sense
Someone watchin’ over us, so shout goes out to Him”.

I cry when I’m Hungry

I celebrated Canada 150 in Ottawa this summer with one of my best friends, Emilia. On Canada Day we were wandering around downtown, desperately looking for a place to eat. Eventually, after an incredibly long search, we found a cute little pizza place with a precious courtyard that didn’t charge insane Canada Day prices. It was perfection.

When we sat down, completely relived to know food would be coming to our table any minute, I turned to her and said “You know sometimes when I’m really hungry I get extra emotional”. She laughed and said “OH I know. It’s my job to keep you fed so you don’t get like that.” I genuinely did almost tear up when the pizza came because it was 2 pm and we hadn’t had lunch yet and I was just overwhelmed with being so happy to be about to eat.

Overwhelmed is a key term in that sentence that I’m going to dive into because the moral of this week’s post is that  it’s important to take care of your body and read the signals that you’re in need of a little TLC.

Connecting Emotional and Physical Health

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as “as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. I think when discussing wellness it’s important to think about how nurturing ourselves physically improves our emotional wellbeing.

We don’t always give enough credit to the fact that managing our emotions or processing stress sometimes requires lots of energy. For myself, if I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed I ask:

  • Did I get enough sleep the past few nights?
  • Have I been eating well lately?
  • Have I been drinking too much coffee? (Sometimes one cup a day is still too much for me – thank goodness for decaf)
  • What’s going on in my life to make me feel this way?

When we are feeling physically burnt out we have a harder time managing stress and other emotions. We don’t function at our highest levels or bring our best selves to our work, school, or relationships. Being in a place of exhaustion, hunger, burnout, or stress can make us more irritable and cause an increase in conflicts in our relationships – hanger is so real guys.

As much as it is funny to joke about crying when I’m hungry I think it really is important to take care of yourself and to pay attention to signs that you need to put more effort into taking care of yourself so you can function at your best.

Take Care

We should be mindful of taking care of ourselves and remember that refuelling your physical and emotional energy is super important. This article talks about the importance of sleep and what impacts it can have on you.

Sometimes it is seen as a badge of honour to be tried, to be so hard-working that you’re exhausted, chugging coffee to keep going.  Do you remember when you were a baby (of course not but just play along), and you got so over tired or hungry you would cry? And your parents we responsible for keeping you fed and well rested? Well if you’re reading this you’re probably a grown up and its your responsibility to care for yourself now.

An article from Everyday Health states that “Total health depends on a healthy mind and body. Take time to nurture both.” and encouraged readers that the best way to care for your overall emotional and physical wellbeing including :

  • “Eat right. A healthy, regular diet is good for the body and mind.
  • Go to bed on time. Losing sleep is hard on your heart, may increase weight, and definitely cranks up the crankiness meter.
  • Go out and play. Taking time out for relaxation and socializing is good for your emotional health and your physical health.
  • Exercise. Exercise is proven to improve your mood and has comprehensive benefits for your physical health.”

I could list article after article here for you to get the point across, like this one that says  “To have good emotional health, it’s important to take care of your body by having a regular routine for eating healthy meals, getting enough sleep, and exercising” or this article which states that “good physical health supports good mental health.” There are so many resources I could keep going, but I think you get it, not taking care of your physical needs has a negative impact on you including your ability to manage your emotions.

Laugh & Sleep

The Irish proverb “A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything” feels pretty spot on and it is advice I really live by. I tend to get over tired and some days I just get to a point where I need to sleep. And we all know laugher, especially shared with friends, is the best medicine. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, maybe you’re so hungry you’re in tears – focus on the things you can do to make it better.

For the sake of full disclosure, I really need to take this advice. As you may have assumed from the anecdote I opened with, I cannot claim that I have perfected the whole “always being well fed and well rested” thing. There have been multiple days already this week (and it’s only Wednesday!) that I had too much coffee, not enough sleep, or I skipped a meal because I was running late for work.

I’m the first to admit that it’s hard to keep a normal sleep schedule or resist the urge to drink coffee when you know it’ll keep you up and fuel your stress. But what I want to emphasize this week is that it’s not about achieving perfect health, it’s about practicing self-awareness and recognizing that the way you care for your body has a direct connection with how you feel and are able to function.

Life is busy, unpredictable and we will not always be well rested, but we can strive to take the best care of our selves. Making sure you’re taking care of yourself means you will be able to handle life the best you can. You’ll function at a high level, be able to manage stress, and avoid crying in pizzeria courtyards. If you want to bring your best self to work, relationships, vacations, what have you – you’ve got to take care.

 

 

P.S. Thank you Em, for being a great friend, keeping me fed, and (almost always) preventing me from getting so hungry I cry.